Poetics Issues Of A Philosophical Text: A Topological Aspect


The research is devoted to the problem of a philosophical text as a key element of modern humanitarian studies. As an original approach, the article focuses on the problems of the poetics of a philosophical text. The poetics of the text is considered in the context of the following issues: the diversity of genres of philosophical works; the problem of philosophical argumentation in a text; the role and function of philosophical concepts; the peculiarities of philosophical metaphor; the problem of translation of philosophical texts. The methodological basis of the research is hermeneutic procedures of text understanding, semiotic analysis of the structure of a text, and the methodology of topological analytics. Hermeneutics of philosophical test solves the question of the “event points” of a text, that is, those significant components of its structure, which help to understand a specific text, to include it in the system of subjective interpretation and a certain cultural context. The semiotics of a philosophical text considers it as the “hypertext space” of interaction. In this regard the communicative (interactive) function of a text is realized as a symbol phenomenon. Also, the semiotics of a philosophical text raises the question of boundaries of a text and raises the problem of “reading levels” of a text. The methodology of topological analysis, on the one hand, unites the efforts of hermeneutics and semiotics in understanding the logic and structure of a philosophical text, and on the other hand introduces a number of additional aspects to the investigated problem.

Keywords: Poeticsphilosophical texttopological analyticshumanitarian sciences


The issue of the poetics of a philosophical text is relevant for modern social and humanitarian studies due to a number of circumstances. Firstly, it is about the emergence of the so-called “text culture” (Alekseev, 2006; Ryskeldieva, 2017; Wilson, 2012), which not only symbolizes the symbolic-communicative nature of modern cultural processes, but also redefines the tasks of philosophical discourse. Secondly, many researchers talk about the convergence of philosophical and literary discourse, about creating a special space for understanding these phenomena of spiritual culture (Podoroga, 2013). And, thirdly, the problems of the poetics of a text, especially of a philosophical text, are again relevant for the Russian humanitarian sciences, due to the need to understand the heritage of the “Tartu–Moscow Semiotic School” (Lotman, 2014). All these facts are aimed at the search by the modern Russian humanities for its unique place in global cultural space.

Problem Statement

The main problem which the researchers of textual problems of philosophical discourse face today is the search for sufficient grounds for determining the place (topos) of philosophy in the space of modern humanitarian practices. In order to do this, it is necessary not only to characterize the “topological” aspect of modern humanitarian studies (Enikeev, 2014), but also to identify development prospects and features of the functioning of a philosophical text as a semantic and conceptual basis for the future of the humanitarian sciences in modern Russia.

Research Questions

The poetics of the philosophical text is a rather insufficiently studied issue, despite the fact that the problems of the poetics of belles-lettres or literary text have been studied for a long time and certain research traditions have been formed, including in Russian science (Lotman, 2014). The main problem that unites studies on poetics is that it is necessary not only to understand the meaning of a text and its content, but also its form, that is, how this text is composed, what strategies to influence a reader are used in it, what place it occupies in the system of other cultural and social texts.

The issues of the poetics of a philosophical text can be considered from the perspective of the following questions: a) the genres of philosophical discourse; b) the role and function of philosophical concepts; c) the peculiarities of philosophical argumentation in a text; d) the problem of metaphor in a philosophical text; f) the problem of translation. The authors of the article focus on the characteristics of these issues.

Nowadays there exist two approaches to the solution of the problem of the genres of philosophical discourse in modern humanitarian sciences. The first approach is connected with historiography problems and in this regard the genre is considered as a definite approach from the part of the historian of philosophy to the preceding philosophical tradition. The key work here is the text of Rorty (1984) and his understanding in the tradition of late pragmatism and analytical philosophy (Sorell, & Rogers, 2004; Tucker, 2009). According to Rorty (1984) there are four common genres of historical and philosophical research: rational reconstruction, historical reconstruction, doxography, and history of the spirit. The problem of reconstruction found a certain resonance (Mesaros, 2013), and the discussion continues on the problem of text interpretation and the connection between the late Rorty and the hermeneutic movement, in particular Gadamer (1988) (Barthold, 2005; Kremer, 2013). The second approach of the genre predetermined outcome of philosophical discourse is associated with the analysis of the diversity of philosophical texts that are represented in humanitarian tradition and spiritual culture of humanity (Plotnikov, 2001; Khlebnikova, 2013). In this regard, not only the poetics of specific texts of a philosophical orientation, but also the conceptual foundations of the genre development of philosophical discourse present a particular interest.

The question of the role and function of philosophical concepts was most clearly defined by the hermeneutic tradition, in particular, the ideas of Gadamer (1988) and Ricoeur (2008,) deserve special attention. The concept of Gadamer is relevant because it synthesizes the ideas of M. Heidegger on the philosophical language and the views of L. Wittgenstein on the nature of “language games”. The contribution of Ricoeur to philosophy is determined by the breadth of hermeneutic issues of subjectivity, since any philosophy has to be “hermeneutic” due to the fact that it is unthinkable without the problem of understanding and interpreting own texts (Petrovici, 2013a, 2013b). According to the hermeneutic approach philosophical concepts not only structure the text in a special way, giving it meaningfulness and coherence as a narration, but also provide an intellectual connection with a reader, since the concept is the key to understanding. It is the point where the origins of the communicative problems of contemporary philosophical discourse should be sought.

The issue on the features of philosophical argumentation in a text is directly connected with the function of philosophical concepts. This issue has relatively recently become the subject of philosophical analytics in the context of the poetics of a philosophical text, despite the fact that already in ancient time philosophers paid due attention to the theory of philosophical argumentation. The main theories of philosophical argumentation are located in the area between logic and rhetoric, suggesting the use of the persuasion mechanism developed in classical analytical philosophy (Van Eemeren & Grootendorst, 2003). The views on the nature of the argument in philosophy from the point of view of a pragmatic and analytical approach also deserve attention (Alekseev, 2006).

The problem of metaphor in a philosophical text is perhaps the most promising for modern research on the poetics of a philosophical text. The origins of this problem lay in the analysis of a literary text, but already at the beginning of the last century the representatives of the “Russian formalism” expanded the content of metaphor to the text of culture as well as to philosophical culture. Nowadays the views on the role of metaphor in a philosophical text in the context of poststructuralism (Derrida, 2012) and analytical philosophy (Lyon, 2000; Surovtsev & Syrov, 2015) seem to be most representative. Through the analysis of the content of a specific philosophical text, philosophers try to understand the logic and structure of the composition of a text, the persuasion methods and, of course, its aesthetic component.

The last topical issue for today is the issue of the poetics of a philosophical text is the question of the philosophical translation or translation of philosophical texts. Here, the key role is assigned to the problem of the fundamental “untranslatability” of a philosophical text, which brings it closer to literary text, on the one hand, and on the other hand, brings the question of the political status of philosophical discourse to a new level. This problem is considered in three dimensions: the hermeneutic approach on the relation between text and context, the features of philosophical discourse in the context of modern non-classical philosophy (Alekseeva, 2016) and translation as a search for linguistic identity, which is especially important for Russian philosophy (Fokin, 2011). The solution of these problems will determine not only the future of Russian philosophical discourse, but also the status of the humanitarian sciences in modern Russia.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the research is to justify the need to use the methods of “topological analytics” in order to understand the main problems of the poetics of a philosophical text in modern humanitarian culture.

Research Methods

The “text objectification” that found wide application in modern methodology (the term of N.S. Avtonomova) does not at all mean the attempt to go into deflationism (as cited in Bilalov, 2016) Therefore, the solution of the problems of the poetics of a philosophical text involves the use of various methodological techniques for the actualization of own content. In our opinion, the following methodological paradigms of research are most valuable: the hermeneutic approach to the analysis of linguistic content, the semiotic analysis of a text and, in fact, topological analytics, which acts as an interdisciplinary matrix for modern humanitarian sciences.

The methodological potential of hermeneutics is largely associated with the development of the phenomenological movement. In this regard it is possible agree with Ricoeur (2008), who argued that the development of the humanities of the twentieth century is largely determined by “the implant of hermeneutical problems to the phenomenological method” (p. 53). For the interpretation of a text and its understanding, according to hermeneutics of Ricoeur, it is important to recognize that there are two levels of position of sense in any text: literal and secondary, metaphorical or figurative. The “hermeneutic field” is located in the space of mutual inversion of these two senses (Ricoeur, 2008). This is the main purpose of the hermeneutic methodology for understanding the structure of a philosophical text and its poetics. With all similarities, a philosophical text assumes at least two levels of its analysis: the analysis of literal content (what the author said) and the analysis of what the author meant (wanted to say). Moreover, this second level is much more important than the first one, as pointed out by both Rorty (1984), speaking of the “rational reconstruction” method in philosophy (Mesaros, 2013), and Derrida (2012), who widely used the hermeneutic paradigm for his own analytics.

The methods of the semiotic analysis of a text broadly speaking were developed in the framework of the activities of the “Tartu–Moscow Semiotic School”. The views of Lotman (2014), who went beyond the boundaries of the poetics of literary text in the sphere of cultural text by introducing the concept of the semiosphere were of crucial importance. In particular, it is important that Lotman distinguished three main functions of any text as a semiotic object: creative (or sense-generating), transmitting (content transmission) and preserving (that is, reproducing text in culture). It is possible to agree with Lotman on the division of all cultural texts into artificial and literary and even imagine a peculiar scale of relations between them. “The spectrum of texts that fill the space of culture is drawn as located on an axis, the poles of which form artificial languages, on the one hand, and literary languages, on the other. The rest are placed at different points of the axis, moving to one or the other pole” (Lotman, 2014, p. 400). The inclination of philosophical text to the pole of literary language is quite obvious, especially for modern texts, in a certain sense, distancing themselves from the classical tradition (Plotnikov, 2001; Khlebnikova, 2013).

Lotman (2014) reasonably assumed that the key issue of the semiotic text space was the question of its boundaries, since the boundary not only determined the specifics of the “semiosphere”, but also helped to understand the specifics of the communicative strategies of a text in culture. The important feature of the text boundary, which Lotman spoke about, was connected with the fact that the boundary not only divided, but also connected something, being a space of interaction, dialogue, communication. “The boundary is bi- and polylingualistic. The boundary is a mechanism for translating foreign semiotics into “our” language, a place for transforming the “external” into the “internal”; it is a filtering membrane that transforms texts of other people so that they fit into internal semiotics of semiosphere, remaining, foreign” (Lotman, 2014, p. 309).

The third methodological paradigm in the study of the poetics of a philosophical text is “topological analytics”. In a certain sense, the talk about the “topos” of a philosophical text was inspired by Aristotle, it was he who first pointed out the importance of not only logical but also rhetorical methods of argumentation (Van Eemeren, & Grootendorst, 2003). A kind of “the second birth” and methodological source of topological analytics is “presence analytics” of M. Heidegger, who outlined the spatial characteristic of being of a subject (da-sein) and introduced an important dimension of its understanding - language. Language is the methodological condition of the topological analytics of a subject, since only in the language the existential components of its existential ontology get their “y-local” embodiment (Enikeev, 2014).

Special attention should be paid to the contribution of Gilles Deleuze to topological analytics. Deleuze enriched the humanitarian discourse of the twentieth century with a number of “concepts”, which reflected the most important philosophical problems of our time. From his point of view, “the creation of concepts is one of the ways to delegitimize metanarratives”. As Bilalov (2017) noted, “the concept is not just a concept, a signification. A concept, according to Deleuze, is an event, not an essence and a thing” (p. 149). It was Deleuze (2015) who discovered topological problems in the philosophy of ancient Greece, in particular among the Stoics. Deleuze (2015) also revealed the methodology of topological analysis of literary and philosophical text through the problem of “semantic shifts” in the structure of a sentence. The ideas of Deleuze about the use of the spatial logic in the development of a situation of understanding were spread, not only in philosophy, but also in economics, politics, and culture (Munro & Thanem, 2018).

Among modern analysts who use topological methodology for the analysis of thr texts of philosophical culture, we can mention Podoroga (2013), Azarenko (2000) and Savchuk (2012). If Azarenko (2000) broadly interprets the problem of the topological conditionality of any cultural text and culture itself, associating the “place of culture” with the problem of cultural and social identification, then Podoroga (2013) turns to the “landscape metaphysics” of philosophical text, while Savchuk (2012) is completely limited to a detailed analysis of visual effects (for example, photos), reflexively transposing them into the philosophical context of modern cultural research.


The results of the problem analysis of the poetics of a philosophical text can be summarized as follows. These provisions are based on the ambiguity of the problems of a text in modern culture, which is associated with the wide range of interpretations of this concept in humanitarian sciences, and also take into account the role of a subject in the production of a text and its cultural consumption.

First, the problem on the structure of philosophical text, the internal logic of its development remains relevant. The solution of this problem is carried out in three dimensions. In the dimension of hermeneutic interpretation, a philosophical text highlights key concepts or “event points” (word, phrase, statement, sentence) that require understanding in the context of “hermeneutic circle” (Gadamer, 1988). The semiotic analysis of a text highlights the levels of its functioning in the structure of a text (for example, creative, translating and preserving), and also marks the text boundary as a productive space for understanding it in the context of culture (Lotman, 2014). The question of the structure of the text in the framework of topological analysis takes into account the approaches of hermeneutics and semiotics, but primarily connects the text with the language as a system of symbols, thus denoting the phenomenological and existential component of the presence of the learning subject. Also, the topological approach allows speaking about the component of a hypertext of a modern philosophical text, which always relies on many hidden and explicit quotes and references, without taking into account the influence of which a text will be incomplete (Enikeev, 2014).

Secondly, it is necessary to take into account that a text forms the space of its own interaction with other texts, not so much as a kind of hypertext, but as a “dialog box” for creating and mastering the “cultural landscape” of a particular thought (Podoroga, 2013). A text is always in dialogue with other texts, it takes its specific place in culture and the communication strategies of it allow speaking about its topological component. The topos of a philosophical text is a question of its place in the tradition, cultural context and consciousness of the modern thinker. In this sense, both the “genre” approach to the text (Rorty, 1984; Plotnikov, 2001), and the cultural-semiotic one (Azarenko, 2000; Lotman, 2014) remain relevant.

Thirdly, the topological method of the position of a subject and its institutional conditionality is decisive in the question of the poetics of a philosophical text. In this regard a subject is understood as both an author and a reader of a text. Therefore, the problems of text production, the popular forms of the functioning of philosophical texts in modern culture and reading strategies that a subject use in order to determine own social, political, cultural position in society are of particular interest. In this sense, the social nature of topological analytics of a philosophical text makes it possible to solve the issue of the identity of philosophical discourse, to designate a connection with other important institutional entities of modern culture, and to see the future of philosophy in the processes of cultural globalization.


According to the authors the topological aspect of the research problems of the poetics of a philosophical text is the most demanded from a methodological point of view in modern humanitarian studies. This is due to the fact that this approach takes into account the heuristic potential of a variety of humanitarian practices, from psychoanalysis and phenomenology, to semiotics and poststructuralism. The following areas of research should be viewed as promising directions for the development of topological analytics of a philosophical text: the pragmatics of modern philosophical texts, their connection with political discourse; the relation between text and reality in cognitive research space; the search for new forms of the identity of philosophical discourse in the era of globalization. It appears that these areas of research will help to preserve the need for a philosophical text as an element of the cultural tradition of modernity.


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28 December 2019

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Agaeva, M., Bilalov, M., & Enikeev*, A. (2019). Poetics Issues Of A Philosophical Text: A Topological Aspect. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 894-901). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.12.04.119